Yuri Malina and Mert Iseri
Evanston, Illinois

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the best way to prevent the two million annual cases of hospital-acquired infections is by increasing hand hygiene among staff members. Yet the average US hospital has a 40% compliance rate with guidelines.

altSwipeSense uses recent advances in both sensor and web technologies to solve hand hygiene challenges. A portable, trackable hand sanitation device that clips onto the scrubs of a physician or nurse, SwipeSense dispenses one dose of alcohol-based hand sanitizer with the squeeze of a hand. Embedded electronics in each device transmit individual hand hygiene data to a web application in real-time via a sensor network plugged into outlets throughout the hospital.

This enables the capture of both hand hygiene frequency data, and location data based on device proximity to the installed sensors. A web application provides hospital administration with anonymous reports for infection prevention strategies.

Six hospitals in the Chicago area have committed to a pilot program.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com .

V2 Renal Denervation System for Vessix Vascular

Stuart Karten, Eric Olson, Eric Schmid, Dennis Schroeder, Cynthia Kossayan, Erin Williams, Jonathan Abarbanel, and Chris Clark
Karten Design, Marina del Rey, CA

The V2 Renal Denervation System™ performs a fast, one-time procedure called Renal Denervation, clinically shown to alleviate hypertension. Used in hospital catheterization labs, it deactivates nerves at the base of the renal artery with a short pulse of radio frequency energy, treating hypertension in just 30 seconds per artery.

Design inspired by the sleek look of consumer electronics, the V2 Generator has a sweeping, parabolic form without back or bottom. Made from CNC-machined aluminum, the generator features sharp details, such as the interlocking diamond texture of the side housings. A polished, black-anodized finish reflects light from every angle.

Single-button operation makes the GUI simple to navigate. Users are notified that the catheter is in place, prompted to push the button to deliver treatment, and then given an on-screen summary. The entire process happens in just four screens. Implementing the generator as a pole-mounted, cart-based device allows cath labs flexibility in operating and storing the equipment.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/v2renal .

polyMEAs: Tissue-Like All-Polymer Microelectrode Arrays for Neuroprosthetics

Axel Blau
Italian Institute of Technology Central Research Labs, Genoa, Italy

Extracellular microelectrode array (MEA) electrophysiology has become a widespread technique to record and stimulate bioelectrical signals. Electrodes made of metals or inorganic semiconductors work well in pacemakers and cochlear implants. But, in contact with the central or peripheral nervous system, these probes are not biocompatible and can trigger an immune response leading to device encapsulation or rejection.

Despite the tremendous research investments into diverse neuroprosthetic technologies, neural probes still lack functional stability during chronic use due to the large discrepancy between their biomechanical and chemical properties and those of the tissue environment.

The patented polymer microelectrode arrays (polyMEAs) are highly flexible, biocompatible and inexpensive electroconductive polymers or polymer composites. These electrical conductors are filled into equally biocompatible and biostable electrically insulating bi-level microchannel polymer scaffolds of any desired stiffness to best match the softness of the tissue environment. Scaffolds with thicknesses of several tens to hundreds of micrometers can be fabricated with conventional injection molding or thermoforming.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/polymea .

A Capacitive Multichannel ECG Measurement System

Antje Pohl, Benjamin Eilebrecht, and Akram Idrissi
RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany

According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases are the leading causes of death and disability in the world. This leads to the need for simple and cheap monitoring systems to spot cardiac diseases at an early stage.

Electrocardiograms (ECG) are used to draw conclusions about the heart rate, condition, and pathological changes. They use adhesive electrodes that must be placed directly on the patient’s skin, which can lead to irritation, especially in long-term observations and neonatology. In addition, their attachment requires a trained person, time, and occasionally skin preparation.

This new device measures the ECG without direct skin contact through layers of clothing, opening up new fields of application. The system contains nine electrodes positioned in a 3 x 3 matrix mounted on a carrier plate, that allows a proper adaption to the patient’s individual size and height. Up to eight electrocardiograms can be measured synchronously, providing a reliable and detailed view of the patient’s cardiac activity.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/capacitive .

GE SpinLab: First Automated Multichannel Hyperpolarizer

Jonathan Murray, Andrew Leach, Jan Henrik Ardenkjaer-Larsen, and Tim Skloss
GE, Waukesha, WI

Hyperpolarized Metabolic Imaging allows researchers to non-invasively study biochemical changes in disease processes by improving the sensitivity of magnetic resonance by more than 20,000-fold. GE SpinLab™ harnesses hyperpolarized Carbon 13C (C13) to view metabolic processes of disease in real time, and reveals visual information about the flow, perfusion, metabolism, and organ and cell viability in living creatures.

The user loads the agent into the SpinLab, allows the automated process to take place, and obtains the hyperpolarized agent. The improvement in sensitivity can allow accelerated measurement speed and enhanced spatial resolution to investigate low levels of metabolites in cellular and disease models, as well as biochemical assays.

To achieve this improvement in sensitivity SpinLab generates an ultra-low temperature (-272° C) environment in a high magnetic field (5 Tesla) with microwave irradiation (140 GHz) without any consumption of cryogens. Metabolically relevant agents can are processed with the SpinLab in a custom designed disposable fluid path. This technology was profiled in the September issue of Medical Design Briefs.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/spinlab .

UV-C Bare and Gloved Hand Flash Disinfection

Peter Gordon, Eugene I. Gordon, PhD, and Peter E. Gordon
Germgard Lighting LLC, Dover, NJ

Germgard Lighting has developed and tested an ultraviolet light dispenser, specifically designed to instantly and safely disinfect both bare and gloved hands. It achieves -6log10 inactivation in less than 3 seconds of all relevant pathogens, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as MRSA, Clostridium difficile spores, and infectious viruses like norovirus. Hand washing and alcohol-based rubs have limited ability to sanitize.

Alcohol rub sanitation requires 30 seconds and hand washing at least one minute. Both approaches irritate hands, especially those of healthcare workers. As a result, both techniques limit compliance rate for hand hygiene in hospitals to well under 100%. Global hospital infection rates continue to rise and infections impose enormous financial, legal, and staff burdens on hospitals, emergency personnel, and clinical care facilities.

This patent issued, UVC technology represents an effective solution to the critical infection prevention need of fast and effective sterilization in surgery, ICUs, and patient rooms, as well as restaurants, schools, and R&D laboratories. To see a video of the hand disinfection process, click here .

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/uvc .

HistoMosaic: Cancer Tissue Diagnostics by Multiplexed PCR

Emil Kartalov
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

HistoMosaic is a novel technique to analyze tissue samples in cancer diagnostics. State-of-the-art techniques suffer from low sensitivity, which could lead to false negatives, or low throughput, meaning inapplicability in a clinical setting.

This technique addresses both issues, combining the high sensitivity of polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods with the high throughput of slide-wide clinical techniques. It starts with a conventional tissue slide sample, builds a photoresist layer over the tissue, and exposes the photoresist to UV through a honeycomb matrix mask. Then it develops the unexposed photoresist, resulting in a matrix of millions of micro wells that conform to the tissue profile tissue and leave a flat top surface. PCR reagents are added, and then it is sealed by a slide coated with a polydimethylsiloxane layer. The entire assembly is sealed with epoxy and processed in a standard PCR machine.

The PCR assays produce a signal in the wells in which the mutation is present. Scanning the slide on a fluorescence scanner produces a false-color map of cancer mutations.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/histomosaic .

Synthetic Bone Graft Material

Darren Nolen
Nolen Orthopedics, Atlanta, GA

Synthetic bone graft materials are required to reduce the dependence upon harvested patient bone or donated cadaveric bone. All current bone graft materials have difficulty in matching the structure of patient bone and where it does have a compatible structure, bonding to adjacent bone is lacking. A better material would adhere to native bone, have a defined microstructure, and encourage the ingrowth of new bone tissue.

“Bone Putty” is a malleable bone graft material, manufactured and inert until warmed to body temperature when it solidifies and adheres to adjacent bone. It encourages regrowth of bone into the implant. The material can be precisely formulated in a controlled manufacturing environment, allows for the incorporation of reinforcing material, is ready to use upon removal from the sterile package, does not require the surgical team to mix multiple compounds within the surgical suite, and forms a solid yet porous structure upon implantation.

Since it can be compounded and distributed, it can incorporate structural reinforcement agents, bone growth stimulating agents, viscosity modifiers, and can be formed with a wide range of internal microstructures.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/bonegraft .

Synthetic Bone Made by Indirect Selective Laser Sintering

Mariano Velez, Steve Jung, Krishna Kolan, Ming Leu, and T-M. Gabriel Chu
Mo-Sci Corporation, Rolla, MO

Prototype synthetic bone scaffolds manufactured by selective laser sintering (SLS) using novel borate-based bioactive glass (BBG) mimic the structure and mechanical properties of normal healthy bone and can be used for trauma repair.

Medical imaging can provide non-destructive characterization of 3D bone density, structure, connectivity, and mechanical properties. Such information can be used for computer-aided designing digital bone shapes, which is then fed to an SLS machine to fabricate “green” bone scaffold prototypes.

While synthetic bone scaffolds are available, the use of BBG as a new material will create scaffolds that resorb and heal faster and have the potential for load bearing applications. The SLS process allows controlling gradient structural features (macro- and micro-size porosity) to provide high vascularization promotion as quick as possible. Complex shapes can be fabricated with gradient features and/or including multiple compositions. BBG is non-toxic and does not create inflammation.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/syntheticbone .